Micahel Frazier II must step up game, leadership

Just like Florida Gators basketball’s mantra was once “layups, dunks and Lee Humphrey,” the 2013-14 season was very much “layups, dunks and Michael Frazier II.”

Then a sophomore, Frazier took 38 percent of Florida’s three-point attempts and was the Gators’ second-leading scorer with 482 points (18 percent of the team’s total) despite only taking 79 shots inside the arc.

Frazier also made 11 threes in a single game, breaking a 17-year school mark for most in a single game while draining the third-most in a single contest by an SEC player and the most ever in an SEC league game.

However, he was also sixth in assists and seventh in free throw attempts, despite being the team’s best shooter at .842 in 39 games.

If Frazier wants to continue being a productive player for Florida in 2014-15, he’s going to have to step up his all-around game. That means driving the lane, helping facilitate by passing the ball, and taking his already-improved defense to another level.

Continue Reading » Micahel Frazier II must step up game, leadership

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Florida-Alabama preview: Donovan talks status of Walker, Grant, three-point defense

Location: Coleman Coliseum – Tuscaloosa, AL [Capacity: 15,383]
Date/Time: Thursday at 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Rece Davis, Bob Knight)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

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(6) FLORIDA GATORS ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Anthony Grant
Record: 15-2 (4-0 SEC) Record: 8-9 (2-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -5.5 | O/U: 123.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Alabama actually leads Florida 73-62 in the all-time series, but the Gators boast a 19-5 record under Donovan. UF has won seven-straight against UA and nine of the last 10 games in the series. However, the Gators are 17-47 on the road against the Crimson Tide (5-3 under Donovan) with three consecutive victories.
» Florida is on a nine -game winning streak and has won 14 of its last 15 games.
» Donovan is 12-2 against his former assistants, 6-0 going head-to-head with Grant.
» The Gators are 67-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 7-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators are 3-2 in true road games this season.
» UF has used seven different starting lineups in 17 games.

Continue Reading » Florida-Alabama preview: Donovan talks status of Walker, Grant, three-point defense

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Fastbreak: No. 7 Gators cage Bulldogs 72-50

The No. 7 Florida Gators (14-2, 3-0 SEC) set a program record by extending their home winning streak to 25 games while blowing out the Georgia Bulldogs (8-7, 2-1 SEC) on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

“It’s a good milestone. Any time you can do something for the first time in school history, it’s always nice,” said head coach Billy Donovan. “But like I said on Monday, we’re 0-0 playing [any individual] game here at home; you just got to go out and play.”

Florida triumphed 72-50 while pulling off its eighth-straight victory and 13th in the last 14 contests, which OnlyGators.com breaks down with seven quick-hitters:

It was over when: Despite failing to hit a field goal over a span of 9:41 in the second half, the Gators still led the Bulldogs by 17. That basket-less streak ended courtesy of consecutive three-pointers by sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, who pushed Florida’s lead up to 23 points. The Gators completed a 16-3 run – including a third Frazier triple – to take a 27-point lead just minutes later. He finished with a game- and career-high 21 points on 5-of-12 shooting from deep with four rebounds and two assists.

Prominent player: Though he did not have much of an impact in the second half, due to being rested while simultaneously in foul trouble, senior forward Will Yeguete was the best player on the court for Florida during the dominant first half that gave it a 20-point halftime lead over Georgia. Yeguete scored 10 first-half points on 5-of-6 shooting (his sole a three) and finished with 12 points (two shy of his career-high) and six rebounds for his best game of the 2013-14 season.

“He needs a day here and there, so I gave him off on Sunday from practice because I thought he looked really exhausted even in the game against Arkansas,” Donovan explained. “He didn’t have any bounce, any legs, and I think he was probably a little bit tired. So we gave him Sunday, and I’d say yesterday he probably took half the reps. And I think that probably helped him physically some kind of get rejuvenated.”

Significant stretch: Trailing 6-4 early, UF erupted on an explosive 26-4 run that lasted 10:20, included nine UGA turnovers and four Florida three-pointers – all from different players. The Gators held the Bulldogs scoreless for 6:32 during that stretch as they came away with 16 points off 12 total first-half turnovers.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak after the, well, break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 7 Gators cage Bulldogs 72-50

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Florida vs. Georgia preview: Prather out, Walker waiting, Gators going streaking

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPNU (Joe Davis, Dino Gaudio)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN appLive Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(7) FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 13-2 (2-0 SEC) Record: 8-6 (2-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14.5 | O/U [OFF]

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida lead the all-time series against Georgia 108-99 (25-10 under Donovan). The Gators are 14-3 against the Bulldogs at home under Donovan with 11-straight victories against their rivals in the O’Dome.
» Due to the SEC’s rotational schedule, UF and UGA will not meet twice this season. According to the school, it will be the first time that has happened since the 1943-44 campaign, when Florida did not field a basketball team.
» The Gators are attempting to break the program record for longest home winning streak. UF has won 24-straight games in the O’Dome dating back to last season when it went undefeated in its home gym. The streak is the third-longest nationally behind Stephen F. Austin and Duke (26).
» Florida is on a seven-game winning streak and has won 12 of its last 13 games.
» The Gators are 65-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 6-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators will likely be using their eighth different starting lineup in 16 games.

NOT BACK YET

Senior forward Casey Prather (knee) will miss his second-straight contest, Donovan announced on Monday. Prather continues to deal with what is being termed a bone bruise and will have missed three practices and two games by the time the final buzzer sounds on Tuesday. “He still has issues. He’s getting better. He’s progressing. When he’ll be available to play, I don’t know, but he’s out,” said Donovan.

Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) and senior center Patric Young (knee) continue to deal with their own ailments but will both play Tuesday as expected. Both have been full participants in practice coming out of Florida’s 84-82 overtime win at Arkansas on Saturday.

“[Wilbekin] is still sore. He’s still dealing with some issues,” he said. “Those guys are full-go. [Monday] in practice they [were] out there. I’m sure Scottie is dealing with some soreness and stiffness in his ankle. He should be able to play [Tuesday].”

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Florida at Arkansas preview: Four Gators on injured list; Prather out Saturday

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Jimmy Dykes)
SiriusXM: 117/200 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN appLive Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(10) FLORIDA GATORS ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mike Anderson
Record: 12-2 (1-0 SEC) Record: 11-3 (0-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +2.5 | O/U 141

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida lead the all-time series against Arkansas 16-11 (16-6 under Donovan) but is just 4-8 on the road against Arkansas (4-5 under Donovan).
» The Gators are 6-1 in their last seven games against the Razorbacks but got routed 80-69 in Fayetteville in their last meeting on Feb. 5, 2013.
» UF is on a six-game winning streak and has been victorious in 11 of its last 12 games.
» UA had its seven-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday with a surprising 69-53 loss on the road at Texas A&M.
» Arkansas has won 25-straight home games, the second-longest streak in the nation.
» Florida is 65-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators are 5-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign.
» Florida defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» The Gators are 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» UF is 1-2 in true road games this season.

INJURIES PILE UP – AGAIN

Following up on Thursday’s announcement that senior forward Casey Prather had joined senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) as a non-participant in practice after Prather’s knee swelled up in the morning after Wednesday night’s game, Donovan provided additional details on the ailments facing his team.

Regarding Prather, Donovan explained that a Thursday MRI revealed a bone bruise with fluid built up in the joint. He ruled Prather out of Saturday’s game, the first contest that Florida’s leading scorer – who has averaged double-digit points in all 14 games – will miss this season.

“Took place last game, he’s had some swelling. We actually thought it maybe have been some cartilage tear with the way his knee was swollen. He had an MRI [Thursday] night. Cartilage tear, knee structure, that stuff’s all fine, but he’s out [Saturday],” Donovan said.

Continue Reading » Florida at Arkansas preview: Four Gators on injured list; Prather out Saturday

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Fastbreak: No. 15 Gators chomp Dolphins 86-60

No. 13/15 Florida Gators basketball (5-1) won its fourth-straight game by ripping through the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-4) on Monday evening at Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. Florida topped Jacksonville 86-60 for its most dominant victory – and first road win – of the season in a contest highlighted by the return of senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin following a six-game suspension.

OnlyGators.com breaks down the Gators’ win with The Fastbreak.

It was over when: The Gators extended their lead to 31 points with 13:44 to left in the game as senior forward Casey Prather completed an old-fashioned four-point play. Charging towards the hoop, Prather laid the ball in but drew a foul and went to the line. He missed the ensuing free throw but grabbed the rebound on the baseline and slammed it home to put UF up 66-35.

Prominent player: Prather continued to dominate just like he has all season, finishing 11-for-13 from the field for a game-high 27 points with five rebounds and three assists. He once again displayed great athleticism attacking the hoop and provided a ton of energy for his team on both ends of the court.

Significant stretch: Florida opened up the game by outscoring Jacksonville 19-7, using three triples from sophomore guard Michael Frazier II to take a double-digit lead just 3:45 into the game. UF never led by fewer than 11 points from that point forward. Frazier finished 5-for-6 from downtown, scoring 17 points on the evening.

Perfect play: With 9:47 remaining in the first half, Gators redshirt junior F Jacob Kurtz closed out on a three-pointer shot by Dolphins G Sam Hunt, rejecting it and powering the ball into the crowd. Two possessions earlier, Kurtz laid the ball in off a nice pass from junior guard Eli Carter, giving the emerging walk-on a couple nice plays in a row.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the…break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 15 Gators chomp Dolphins 86-60

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No. 16 Florida basketball vs. Middle Tenn. preview

Event: Global Sports Challenge
Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:30 p.m. EST

(16) FLORIDA GATORS MIDDLE TENN. BLUE RAIDERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Kermit Davis
Record: 3-1 Record: 4-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Sun Belt
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

TV: Sun Sports (Larry Vettel, Bill Koss) [Channel Finder]
SiriusXM: 108/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Odds: Florida -12

PRE-GAME READING MATERIAL

» Notebook: Billy Donovan talks point guard situation, Will Yeguete’s explosiveness
» Notebook: Florida-Southern post-game report. Gators PG Kasey Hill suffers high-ankle sprain, G Dillon Graham (hips) ruled out for the season.
» The Fastbreak: Breaking down No. 14/16 Florida easing past Southern 67-53
» Story: Gators down to No. 14/16 in new top 25 polls

HISTORY / STATS / STREAKS

» Florida is 1-0 all-time against Middle Tennessee, defeating Thursday night’s opponent last season 66-45 in a neutral site game in Tampa, FL.
» The Gators are playing their third game in the last six days.
» UF is currently 3-0 in the Global Sports Challenge, an exempt tournament, with wins over North Florida, Arkansas-Little Rock and Southern. Thursday night’s game happens to be for the non-existent event title as MTSU is also 3-0 in the tournament.
» Florida is 7-1 against Sun Belt teams under Donovan.
» Middle Tennessee advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season but fell in the First Four to St. Mary’s.
» The Gators have won 18-straight games in the O’Dome dating back to the 2011-12 season as well as 19 consecutive non-conference home games.
» Florida is replacing its three leading scorers from 2012-13.
» UF is looking to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2006-07 after having its season end in the Elite Eight in each of the last three years.
» The Gators are now 4-3 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all three losses coming away from its home court.
» Florida is 57-8 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators are 0-7 dating back to last season in games decided by single digits.
» Florida’s defense has started off allowing just 59.2 points per game through four contests, good for lowest in the SEC. Three-straight opponents have failed to reach 60 points against UF.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. The Gators have him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.
» Donovan (418) enters the game 30 wins behind Dale Brown (448) for second-most in SEC history. He is currently the longest-tenured head basketball coach in the league.

Continue Reading » No. 16 Florida basketball vs. Middle Tenn. preview

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No. 16 Florida basketball vs. Southern preview

Event: Global Sports Challenge
Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

(16) FLORIDA GATORS SOUTHERN JAGUARS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Roman Banks
Record: 2-1 Record: 1-3
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southwestern Athletic
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

TV: Sun Sports (Larry Vettel, Mark Wise) [Channel Finder]
SiriusXM: 108/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Odds: OFF

PRE-GAME READING MATERIAL

» Story: Gators down to No. 14/16 in new top 25 polls
» Notebook: Florida-Arkansas Little Rock post-game report. Florida F Dorian Finney-Smith shines in first game but is G Eli Carter headed for a readshirt?
» The Fastbreak: Breaking down Florida’s dominant 86-56 win over Arkansas-Little Rock

HISTORY / STATS / STREAKS

» Florida and Southern are meeting for just the second time with the Gators beating SU 83-27 on Nov. 28, 2006 in the only contest between the two programs.
» UF is currently 2-0 in the Global Sports Challenge, an exempt tournament, with wins over North Florida and Arkansas-Little Rock. A victory over Southern would clinch the event “title.” Florida squares off against Middle Tennessee on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in its final game of the challenge.
» The Gators have never lost to a SWAC, boasting a 7-0 record.
» The Jaguars advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season as a 16-seed and fought 1-seed Gonzaga hard before ultimately falling 64-58 in the first round.
» UF has won 17-straight games in the O’Dome dating back to the 2011-12 season as well as 18 consecutive non-conference home games.
» Florida is playing Monday after just a two-day turnaround, one of three the team is scheduled to have this season.
» The Gators are replacing their three leading scorers from 2012-13.
» UF is looking to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2006-07 after having its season end in the Elite Eight in each of the last three years.
» Florida is now 4-3 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all three losses coming away from its home court.
» The Gators are 56-8 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 0-7 dating back to last season in games decided by single digits.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. The Gators have him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.
» Donovan (417) enters the game 31 wins behind Dale Brown (448) for second-most in SEC history. He is currently the longest-tenured head basketball coach in the league.

Continue Reading » No. 16 Florida basketball vs. Southern preview

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